Stove-top Baked Beans

Why is it that baked beans are so popular around the Fourth of July, but making them usually requires several hours of baking in a hot oven? Where we live it gets pretty darn sizzling in the summer and the last thing we want to do is keep the oven going for hours; the AC is working hard enough as it is. Here’s a recipe I pulled from the New York Times back in February that calls for cooking the beans on the stove top, a much preferred summer cooking method. Richly flavored with bacon, molasses, ketchup and vinegar, these not-really-baked beans have plenty of the baked bean goodness you expect, and are great with hot dogs.

Stove-top Baked Beans Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry small white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans (or 3 15-ounce cans of white beans)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or cayenne pepper if you don't have Tabasco)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 slice raw thick-cut bacon
  • 5 slices cooked thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped

Method

1 If you are using canned beans, drain the beans, put them in a large pot and skip to step 4. Put dry beans in a large pot. Cover with water by 2 inches and refrigerate overnight. Alternatively, bring beans to a boil, remove from heat and let cool for an hour.

2 Drain the beans and rinse them. Add them to a large pot. Cover with 1 inch of water. Insert cloves into onion halves (so they can be easily found and discarded later), add to pot. Add garlic and bay leaf. Heat to a simmer and let cook for 1 to 2 hours, until beans are just tender. (Older beans will take longer to cook). Add boiling water to beans if they begin to look dry while cooking.

3 Remove onion, cloves, and bay leaf. Add 1 teaspoon of salt.

4 In a separate bowl, mix together the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, mustard powder, Tabasco sauce, and pepper. Add mixture to beans and stir to combine. Add one slice of raw bacon to the mix. Bring the beans to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes until thick. Remove bacon slice (if desired). Add more salt to taste.

Serve hot, topped with chopped red onions and cooked bacon.

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Adapted from a recipe in the New York Times, February 2007

14 Comments

  1. jo

    My Mom always did them in the crock pot. I had never seen a stove top recipe, I’ll have to pass it along.
    Personally I only like baked beans in the fall and winter, I wonder how they ever became a staple on hot 4th of July?

  2. Sven Bystrom

    I prefer to chop the onions and bacon strip(s), use dark brown sugar instead molasses.
    -Sven

  3. ana

    Could these work for black beans or chickpeas?

    Maybe. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  4. Deberah

    I have done the indoor baked beans on the stove when in a hurry, thought of it as cheating, and have used basically the same ingredients less the cloves and Tabasco, and used white vinegar instead of apple cider…I always get “rave reviews”.

  5. Khun Ying

    I used to eat baked beans on toast in Australia for breakfast. I just made this recipe today. Actually, this is very good with hot dogs too. I also prefer brown sugar instead molasses. Thanks!

  6. Nina

    I added a half cup of brown sugar and a half cup of ketchup to counter the level of the hot and the sour (this palate favors the sweet taste). It was yummy!

  7. Em

    I made this recipe when it was first published in the NYT (and lost it, thus my search)…and have made it several subsequent times. It is fabulous. Tastes more like a meatless version of cassoulet, minus 60-plus hours of prep time. So how can you lose?

    I recommend this 900 percent–you won’t be sorry. BTW, I do it with canned cannellini beans, something I normally would not do, eg, never with black beans, but with this dish, canned is just great. Use the juice as well for richer flavor. A great winter comfort food.I seem to recall they asked for a sprinkling of breadcrumbs on top, and I don’t recall the header of H2O. Maybe that’s only for dried beans, which would tend to need more liquid.

    If you don’t have molasses, simply substitute brown sugar, which is where molasses comes from.

  8. nancy_theresa

    This is DELICIOUS! I sauteed 1/2 an onion and the 2 garlic cloves in some canola oil before adding the canned beans and remaining ingredients. I also used chopped up veggie bacon and it worked great! (I accidentally forgot the cloves, but not a problem.)

  9. Leslie

    When I make any bean plate or garlic additions: I simply enter a clove of garlic in the microwave oven for 9 seconds. One clove 9 seconds, no more no less. Very hot be careful! The garlic “pops” right out of its skin and then you throw it in.

  10. Nicole

    These beans were easy to make and delicious. I made them for 30 people and got rave reviews. I myself don’t like baked beans – and I liked them! I would defintely recommend!

  11. Jen

    How would you do this with canned beans? Do you still make a stock with them? Where do you add the onions/cloves/bay leaf?

    Canned beans are already cooked, so no, you wouldn’t use the onion, cloves, bay leaf. You could add some onion salt and/or a tiny pinch of ground cloves to the last step. If you used canned beans, just skip to the last step. ~Elise

  12. Omeghan

    I have made these stove top beans many times in hunt camp as a side to a chuckroast, meatloaf, burgers, or roasted keilbosa. I used French’s prepared mustard (a couple of tablespoons), a huge dollop of Ketchup, a large squeeze of molasses, diced onion & diced raw bacon.

    Add these to a couple cans ready made pork & beans and let simmer on back of the wood stove, 1-1.5 hours. Remove & let set up & reheat when required. Check moisture, add a bit of water if needed. So Thick & delicious!

    If making beans from scratch …when boiling the beans, add a bit of baking soda to the water. (it rinses off) It reduces flatulance later on. (I use baking soda too when making pea soup)

    Oh and don’t forget a chunk of home made bread & nice cold butter!

    And it goes well with a nice coarse grated coleslaw (cabbage onion & carrot) with MW salad dressing & a large splash white vinegar & pepper (shook in a jar) Pour over slaw & Let it stand, covered in fridge or in a large zip lock bag.

  13. anna

    When using canned beans, do you add the liquid too?

    Good question. Canned beans should be drained. ~Elise

  14. kaitlyn

    I used white beans, soaked overnight. One thing I would say is add a tsp or two of baking soda when you soak overnight to release the gas in the beans. My beans cooked in less than an hour. Also I used a 1/4 cup of brown sugar as well as the molasses. drained most of the water and added half a large can of crushed tomatoes. I dislike ketchup and wanted more nutritional value. Turned out terrrific! Also kept onion, I chopped and browned with bacon.

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